I have found the website for The Jury Expert http://www.thejuryexpert.com/ to be a source of helpful information. In an article critical of the “reptile” approach to trial there was a discussion about seven tips for creating the motivating story I thought particularly helpful http://www.thejuryexpert.com/2010/05/atticus-finch-would-not-approvewhy-a-courtroom-full-of-reptiles-is-a-bad-idea/ Here is a summary of the suggestions:
- As you prepare the case always ask yourself: “What is this story really about?” it is more then simply your client’s case and injury. What is the underlying issue that will appeal to the jury?
- A story is always about conflict. You need the protagonist and antagonist with events that appeal to intellectually and emotional meaning
- The story must be about change. The jury must see the change you want to create.
- The story must have a good ending. The jury must abandon the negative, skeptical frame of mind for one that wants to do something positive
- The message must be about a change they can accomplish that is meaningful to the jury
- The jury must identify with the little guy, the underdog and the hero of the story who is your client
- Test your story with people and groups. Learn whether it works or not by testing and focus studies.
From the same website I read advice for a witness I thought was very helpful. The suggestion was the witness should pause and breathe before answering the question. It only takes a second or two but it:
- It gives the witness a moment to think about the question being asked
- It allows the witness to think about the answer before saying anything
- It provides time for the lawyer to object
- It controls the pace of the questioning